Participant Perceptions – A Fidelity Global Research Survey

By Josh Feldman. Whether you are a U.S. based or global company, one question remains constant – is your equity compensation enhancing employee loyalty and motivation? Participant perception is such an integral element to stock plan success, and it is also one that remains difficult to quantify. Fidelity Stock Plan Services conducted a third installment of its participant research survey and reported the results in comparison to survey results from years past. The findings illustrate the trends in participant attitudes toward equity compensation plans. Here’s are some of the results from Fidelity’s Global Participant Research.

A well-informed participant equals a loyal, hardworking employee. Organizations put in the time and energy to host employee trainings and provide resources, not to mention the initial investment to develop these equity plans, all to provide an additional value to their esteemed workforce. Is it working? Participation in a company stock plan is considered an important benefit to employees, both inside and outside the United States. Nearly two in five consider an equity comp plan a “must-have,” ranked only behind healthcare and retirement benefits. Clearly equity compensation continues to be a highly valued employee benefit, and one that can be a strong retention factor. Over one-third said that giving up their current stock plan benefits would make it difficult to change jobs or organizations.

Participants are increasingly more informed and are seeking out a greater number of resources for their investment information. Research shows individuals seek out a variety of sources from investment websites to friends and family – even in-house employee education programs. Participants are more educated than they were even a year or two ago. Their awareness of the value behind their equity awards remains strong, as does their ability to explain the organization’s stock plan. Not surprisingly, employees in the know value these awards far more than those with less understanding – and are more likely to stay because of them.

More participants are including their stock plan value when calculating their overall compensation than ever before. Approximately 64% of executives with restricted stock and 73% of executives as a whole are including the equity component when they calculate their total take-home. We’re on an upward trend as individuals begin to see the added value their plan has to offer. In today’s information era, where information barriers have decreased significantly, it’s likely we will continue to see data trending towards a better understanding and knowledge of what an equity program can offer participants.

For more information on Fidelity’s survey data and to see the full report, check out the Fidelity Global Participant Research. What is your organization doing to improve the understanding and attitude of your stock plan participants? Share your thoughts below.

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